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India must legalise sports betting to stop ‘shady characters’ ruining the IPL

10/6/2013
Indian cricket's governing body, the BCCI, are to meet for the third time in 20 days amid more spot-fixing and betting controversy in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The IPL, which began in 2008, has attracted controversy since its inception. Former board treasurer and current president of the Maharashtra Cricket Association, Ajay Shirke, has told the Indian Express that it’s time for the country to legalise sports betting to stifle the problem.

He said: “This is the first step we have to take if we are really serious about cleaning up the whole mess. England legalised betting in 1960; they have a betting commission which is the regular authority. This is directly under the sports ministry and works closely with the Home Office, Financial Services Authority and HM Revenue & Customs. The commission has data about every individual who places bets through legal channels.”

Shirke says that India’s current situation allows the black market to operate, meaning the country doesn’t benefit from tax revenue like in the UK: “Sweeping an industry underground clears the field for the outlaws, which is what is happening here.

“The world market for sports betting is close to £220bn. If the profit is at least 20%, then 33% of that amount goes directly to the exchequer as tax revenue. More importantly, the authorities will be able to keep a close eye on the whole process. The black market runs the show at the moment and shady characters are infiltrating our game,” he said.

Bruce Archer
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